Last night, I had the great privilege to attend the performance of Sweeney Todd at Portland Center Stage (PCS) at the old armory. I had the great fortune to meet two of the cast members in from New York while having dinner at Abby’s Table last month. Abby’s offers a wonderful family style setting where conversation with strangers is bound to turn them into friends, at least for the evening. I discovered I was sitting with the “Beggar Woman” (Michele Ragusa) and “The Beadle” (Martin C. Hurt) and they were most pleasant company! They decided I would have to see the show, and boy am I glad that I agreed. It has been at least two years since I last saw a musical production, and this served as a pleasant reminder of how much I adore musical theater.
Sweeney Todd is not a lighthearted, happy-go-lucky, singin’ on the plain, man falls in love with woman in a country town musical. I had no background information on the story or what to expect, and it is a startlingly dark perusal of the evil acts man can commit, yet somehow full of humor and sporadic hilarity. The music and singing were brilliant; the cast and crew put on a fantastic show. I highly recommend you attend one of the last performances if you have time this weekend: there are still seats available and two showings Saturday and Sunday!
Only once have I taken the opportunity to participate in a show – my high school junior year experience in The Music Man. I had small parts (yes parts, plural: not lead, but chorus, dancer, etc), and I enjoyed every moment. After Thursday’s show at PCS, I am inspired. Perhaps, one day, I will be able to take the stage and help a girl in the audience like me, to be reminded of what brings her joy, and she, too, may finally take action on her dreams.